Non-prescription medicine misuse, abuse and dependence: a cross-sectional survey of the UK general population

Niamh A. Fingleton, Margaret C. Watson, Eilidh M. Duncan, Catriona Matheson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Non-prescription medicines (NPMs) can be misused, abused or lead to dependence, but the prevalence of these problems within the UK general population was unknown. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of self-reported misuse, abuse and dependence to NPMs.METHODS: A cross-sectional postal survey was sent to 1000 individuals aged ≥18 randomly drawn from the UK Edited Electoral Register.RESULTS: A response rate of 43.4% was achieved. The lifetime prevalence of NPM misuse was 19.3%. Lifetime prevalence of abuse was 4.1%. Younger age, having a long-standing illness requiring regular NPM use and ever having used illicit drugs or legal highs were predictive of misuse/abuse of NPMs. In terms of dependence, lifetime prevalence was 2% with 0.8% currently dependent and 1.3% dependent in the past. Dependence was reported with analgesics (with and without codeine), sleep aids and nicotine products.CONCLUSION: Given the increasing emphasis on self-care and empowering the public to manage their health with NPMs, the findings highlight the need for improved pharmacovigilance of these medicines to maximize benefits with minimal risk. Healthcare providers need to be aware of the potential for misuse, abuse and dependence, particularly in patients with long-term illness.
LanguageEnglish
Pages722-730
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Public Health
Volume38
Issue number4
Early online date2 Feb 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016

Fingerprint

Cross-Sectional Studies
Population
Pharmacovigilance
Codeine
Street Drugs
Self Care
Nicotine
Health Personnel
Analgesics
Sleep
Health

Keywords

  • epidemiology
  • public health
  • primary care
  • non-prescription medicines (NPMs)
  • addictive behaviour
  • codeine
  • pharmacovigilance

Cite this

Fingleton, Niamh A. ; Watson, Margaret C. ; Duncan, Eilidh M. ; Matheson, Catriona. / Non-prescription medicine misuse, abuse and dependence : a cross-sectional survey of the UK general population. In: Journal of Public Health. 2016 ; Vol. 38, No. 4. pp. 722-730.
@article{15dc8120fe004d1fb6e878edec55cc93,
title = "Non-prescription medicine misuse, abuse and dependence: a cross-sectional survey of the UK general population",
abstract = "BACKGROUND: Non-prescription medicines (NPMs) can be misused, abused or lead to dependence, but the prevalence of these problems within the UK general population was unknown. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of self-reported misuse, abuse and dependence to NPMs.METHODS: A cross-sectional postal survey was sent to 1000 individuals aged ≥18 randomly drawn from the UK Edited Electoral Register.RESULTS: A response rate of 43.4{\%} was achieved. The lifetime prevalence of NPM misuse was 19.3{\%}. Lifetime prevalence of abuse was 4.1{\%}. Younger age, having a long-standing illness requiring regular NPM use and ever having used illicit drugs or legal highs were predictive of misuse/abuse of NPMs. In terms of dependence, lifetime prevalence was 2{\%} with 0.8{\%} currently dependent and 1.3{\%} dependent in the past. Dependence was reported with analgesics (with and without codeine), sleep aids and nicotine products.CONCLUSION: Given the increasing emphasis on self-care and empowering the public to manage their health with NPMs, the findings highlight the need for improved pharmacovigilance of these medicines to maximize benefits with minimal risk. Healthcare providers need to be aware of the potential for misuse, abuse and dependence, particularly in patients with long-term illness.",
keywords = "epidemiology, public health, primary care, non-prescription medicines (NPMs), addictive behaviour, codeine, pharmacovigilance",
author = "Fingleton, {Niamh A.} and Watson, {Margaret C.} and Duncan, {Eilidh M.} and Catriona Matheson",
note = "{\circledC} The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Faculty of Public Health. All rights reserved.",
year = "2016",
month = "12",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1093/pubmed/fdv204",
language = "English",
volume = "38",
pages = "722--730",
journal = "Journal of Public Health",
issn = "1741-3842",
number = "4",

}

Non-prescription medicine misuse, abuse and dependence : a cross-sectional survey of the UK general population. / Fingleton, Niamh A.; Watson, Margaret C.; Duncan, Eilidh M.; Matheson, Catriona.

In: Journal of Public Health, Vol. 38, No. 4, 01.12.2016, p. 722-730.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Non-prescription medicine misuse, abuse and dependence

T2 - Journal of Public Health

AU - Fingleton, Niamh A.

AU - Watson, Margaret C.

AU - Duncan, Eilidh M.

AU - Matheson, Catriona

N1 - © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Faculty of Public Health. All rights reserved.

PY - 2016/12/1

Y1 - 2016/12/1

N2 - BACKGROUND: Non-prescription medicines (NPMs) can be misused, abused or lead to dependence, but the prevalence of these problems within the UK general population was unknown. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of self-reported misuse, abuse and dependence to NPMs.METHODS: A cross-sectional postal survey was sent to 1000 individuals aged ≥18 randomly drawn from the UK Edited Electoral Register.RESULTS: A response rate of 43.4% was achieved. The lifetime prevalence of NPM misuse was 19.3%. Lifetime prevalence of abuse was 4.1%. Younger age, having a long-standing illness requiring regular NPM use and ever having used illicit drugs or legal highs were predictive of misuse/abuse of NPMs. In terms of dependence, lifetime prevalence was 2% with 0.8% currently dependent and 1.3% dependent in the past. Dependence was reported with analgesics (with and without codeine), sleep aids and nicotine products.CONCLUSION: Given the increasing emphasis on self-care and empowering the public to manage their health with NPMs, the findings highlight the need for improved pharmacovigilance of these medicines to maximize benefits with minimal risk. Healthcare providers need to be aware of the potential for misuse, abuse and dependence, particularly in patients with long-term illness.

AB - BACKGROUND: Non-prescription medicines (NPMs) can be misused, abused or lead to dependence, but the prevalence of these problems within the UK general population was unknown. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of self-reported misuse, abuse and dependence to NPMs.METHODS: A cross-sectional postal survey was sent to 1000 individuals aged ≥18 randomly drawn from the UK Edited Electoral Register.RESULTS: A response rate of 43.4% was achieved. The lifetime prevalence of NPM misuse was 19.3%. Lifetime prevalence of abuse was 4.1%. Younger age, having a long-standing illness requiring regular NPM use and ever having used illicit drugs or legal highs were predictive of misuse/abuse of NPMs. In terms of dependence, lifetime prevalence was 2% with 0.8% currently dependent and 1.3% dependent in the past. Dependence was reported with analgesics (with and without codeine), sleep aids and nicotine products.CONCLUSION: Given the increasing emphasis on self-care and empowering the public to manage their health with NPMs, the findings highlight the need for improved pharmacovigilance of these medicines to maximize benefits with minimal risk. Healthcare providers need to be aware of the potential for misuse, abuse and dependence, particularly in patients with long-term illness.

KW - epidemiology

KW - public health

KW - primary care

KW - non-prescription medicines (NPMs)

KW - addictive behaviour

KW - codeine

KW - pharmacovigilance

U2 - 10.1093/pubmed/fdv204

DO - 10.1093/pubmed/fdv204

M3 - Article

VL - 38

SP - 722

EP - 730

JO - Journal of Public Health

JF - Journal of Public Health

SN - 1741-3842

IS - 4

ER -